Kathmandu, November 25
Nepal will focus on batting when they play against Pakistan in the opening match of the ACC Women’s Asia Cup at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday.
Coach Raju Basnyat is likely to try new opening pair apart from making changes in the batting order in a bid to put up a fighting total on the board. “I have planned to make changes in the batting order than that of Hong Kong.
Kajal Shrestha and Jyoti Pandey are most likely to open the innings and we will decide other batters as per the situation of the match,” coach Basnyat told The Himalayan Times.
Sita Rana Magar, Nary Thapa, Indu Barma, Rubina Chhetri are expected to follow the opening pair since pitch condition of Thailand is completely different than that of Hong Kong.
Recently the team played six matches in Hong Kong on their way to finishing second in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier for Asia Region.
The runners-up finish earned Nepal a place in the Asia Cup but the coach is worried about the opening partnership as they failed to give solid start in all six matches in the competition.
“As Pakistan’s bowling and batting are strong, we are targeting to put up around 130 runs on the board. That will be a fighting score to defend,” he added.
The pair of Jyoti Pandey and Sita Rana Magar opened in three matches, while Kajal Shrestha and Magar were the openers in two games, whereas Pandey and Roshani Bohara got the opportunity to open the batting in one match.
Saturday’s match will be third encounter against the South Asian giants.
However, they last faced each other six years ago during Nepal’s tour to Pakistan in 2011. Nepal faced heavy defeats in both the matches — by 83 runs and 116 runs — at the hands of the Test-playing nation.
Nevertheless, Pakistan have faced defeats in their 10 recent matches and Nepal are eyeing to capitalise on the slump of their opponents.
“Pakistan are coming to Thailand with a run of 10 defeats. After analysing their matches, we have come to know about their strength and weaknesses,” said Basnyat.
“We are ready for the match. The team had a training session today and yesterday’s warm-up match against Thailand was fruitful,” said the coach. Basnyat, however, was concerned about his batters while facing the fast bowlers of the Test-playing nation.
“The outcome of the match depends on how our players negotiate with the pace attack,” he added.
Nepal will play their second match against Sri Lanka on Monday and meet Bangladesh the following day.
Their fourth match will be against hosts Thailand on December 1 before they face five-time champions India the next day in their last match of the league campaign.
Top two teams will advance to the final slated for December 4.
A version of this article appears in print on November 26, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.